Methodology to Achieve Pseudo 1-D Combustion System of Polymeric Materials Using Low-Pressured Technique

  • 92 Accesses


This paper provides the methodology to achieve pseudo 1-D combustion system of specific polymeric materials without any complex physical effect (e.g., deformation, bubble bursting etc.) by adopting a low pressure technique with a fuel-layered approach. The adopted pressure level in this study is as low as 20 kPa and the size of the specimen is sub-millimeter scale. By utilizing pressure modeling to keep the Grashof number small, the gravity effect is relatively minimized at low pressure to mimic an ideal 1-D combustion process. A molten PMMA layer formed over a ceramic ball (suspended by thin SiC fiber) was used as the burning specimen to fulfil the purpose of this study. Results show that a spherical flame without any apparent bubble bursting is successfully achieved during the entire burning event when the pressure is sufficiently lower (~ 20 kPa) for both 20% and 30% ambient oxygen concentration. A well-known d-square law and pseudo steady burning process is confirmed at the post-ignition stage. Direct comparison of burning rate, K, between what was obtained in this study and that obtained under microgravity ensures that the present methodology is effective to simulate an ideal 1-D combustion system, just like one that can be achieved in microgravity, without the need for microgravity facilities.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 12

(Yang et al. [17])

Figure 13

Change history

  • 02 January 2020

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained an error in Table 1 and text under Sect. 3.3.


  1. 1.

    Krishnamurthy VN (1995) Polymers in space environments. In: Fai TJ, Mark JE, Prasad PN (eds) Polymers and other advanced materials. Springer, Berlin, pp 221–226

  2. 2.

    Willis PB, Hsieh C-H (2000) Space applications of polymeric materials. Kobunshi 49(2):52–56

  3. 3.

    Friedman R (1996) Fire safety in spacecraft. Fire Mater 20:235–243

  4. 4.

    Friedman R, Jackson B, Olson SL (2000) Testing and selection of fire-resistant materials for spacecraft use. NASA/TM-2000-209773

  5. 5.

    Polymer Flammability. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, DOT/FAA/AR-05/14 (2005)

  6. 6.

    Maruta K, Tsuboi K, Takahashi S (2017) Limiting oxygen concentration of flame resistant material in microgravity environment. Int J Microgravity Sci Appl 34(3):2340304

  7. 7.

    Space product assurance—Flammability testing for the screening of space materials, ESA-ESTEC, ECSS-Q-ST-70-21C (2010)

  8. 8.

    Kashiwagi T (1994) Polymer combustion and flammability—role of the condensed phase. Proc Combust Inst 25:1423–1437

  9. 9.

    Zhang J, Shields TJ, Silcock GWH (1997) Effect of melting behavior on upward flame spread of thermoplastics. Fire Mater 21:1–6

  10. 10.

    Nakamura Y, Kizawa K, Mizuguchi S, Hosogai A, Wakatsuki K (2016) Experimental study on near-limiting burning behavior of thermoplastic materials with various thicknesses under candle-like burning configuration. Fire Technol 52:1107–1131

  11. 11.

    Kashiwagi T, Ohlemiller TJ (1982) A study of oxygen effects on nonflaming transient gasification of PMMA and PE during thermal irradiation. In: Proceedings of 19th symposium (international) on combustion. The Combustion Institute, pp 815–823

  12. 12.

    Wichman IS (1986) A model describing the steady-state gasification of bubble-forming thermoplastics in response to an incident heat flux. Combust Flame 63:217–229

  13. 13.

    Butler KM (1999) Bursting bubbles from combustion of thermoplastic materials in microgravity. In: Proceedings from fifth international microgravity combustion workshop, NASA/CP–1999-208917, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, pp 93–96

  14. 14.

    Butler KM (2002) A numerical model for combustion of bubbling thermoplastic materials in microgravity. NISTIR 6894

  15. 15.

    Ishino Y, Yamakita R, Ohiwa N (2007) Appearances of internal micro bubbling, multiple micro explosions, multiple micro jets and micro diffusion flames around an abruptly heated micro plastic-resin particle. Proc Combust Inst 31:2097–2105

  16. 16.

    Ohiwa N, Ishino Y, Yamamoto A (2009) Important roles of multiphase process in enhancement mechanism of micro plastic particle combustion. Proc Combust Inst 32:1997–2004

  17. 17.

    Yang JC, Hamins A, Donnelly MK (1999) Combustion of a polymer (PMMA) sphere in microgravity. NISTIR 6331

  18. 18.

    Yang JC, Hamins A, Donnelly MK (2000) Reduced gravity combustion of thermoplastic sphere. Combust Flame 120:61–74

  19. 19.

    Ikeda M (2018) Effects of gravity on ignition and combustion characteristics of externally heated polyethylene film. Microgravity Sci Technol 30(4):331–338

  20. 20.

    Kumagai S, Sakai T, Okajima S (1971) Combustion of free fuel droplets in a freely falling chamber. In: 13th Symposium (international) on combustion. The Combustion Institute, pp 779–785

  21. 21.

    DeRis J, Kanury AM, Yuen MC (1973) Pressure modeling of fires. In: 14th Symposium (international) on combustion. The Combustion Institute, pp 1033–1044

  22. 22.

    T’ien JS (2008) Some partial scaling considerations in microgravity combustion problems. In: Saito K (ed) Progress in scale modeling. Springer, Berlin, pp 281–292

  23. 23.

    Nakamura Y, Wakatsuki K, Hosogai A (2013) Scale modeling of space fire. J JSEM 13:s69–s74. (Special Issue)

  24. 24.

    Nakamura Y, Yoshimura N, Ito H, Azumaya K, Fujita O (2009) Flame spread over electric wire in sub-atmospheric pressure. Proc Combust Inst 32:2559–2566

  25. 25.

    Spalding DB (1953) The combustion of liquid fuels. In: 4th Symposium (international) on combustion. The Combustion Institute, pp 847–864

Download references


This work is partially supported by JSPS Kakenhi (17H02051). Fruitful discussions with Mr. Hosogai (JAMSS) were highly appreciated.

Author information

Correspondence to Yuji Nakamura.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Migita, T., Yamahata, T., Strempfl, P. et al. Methodology to Achieve Pseudo 1-D Combustion System of Polymeric Materials Using Low-Pressured Technique. Fire Technol 56, 229–245 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10694-019-00877-x

Download citation


  • PMMA
  • Molten polymer
  • d-square law
  • Microgravity combustion
  • Bubble formation and bursting